Saturday, June 11, 2016


Deterioration of Indian Higher Education from Public Good to For-Profit Market Commodity- A Critical Evaluation.
Prof. Thota Jyothi Rani - Kakatiya University,Warangal, Telangana.
The movement towards value-based society will strongly be related to the nature, pattern and availability of existing higher education. It plays a strategic role in achieving social development as well as in realizing social justice. Moreover, the higher education institutions especially universities are known as the centres of knowledge and pioneers of human civilization. Therefore, they are not expected to confine to impart knowledge alone. They are to be articulated as a space for sincere and serious debates to realize the aims of liberty, equality, fraternity and social justice that are proposed in our Constitution. The main function of universities should be to preserve diversity, to question and analyse in order to end the inhuman forces of discrimination, exploitation, oppression and violence which are emerged on the basis of class, caste, religion, region and gender.
What is the state and status of higher education in India at present, which is expected to play a significant role to accelerate the process of constructing the humane society? What is the state of higher education in India in the present context of globlalisation which is dictating and directing the socio-economic, political and cultural structures of developing countries? How does the education sector is being moulded to suit the needs of corporate investments? What is the role of international pressures especially the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation in the creation and establishment of this process? What are the radical changes that are made in our National Education Policies to strengthen this trend? How does it leading to the deterioration in human values? All these issues are to be discussed seriously. A clear awareness as to this trend in our present education system is a necessary condition to think about the construction of high value loaded alternative education system.
Private Sector in the Higher Education
It is significant to note that as early as in 1980’s, a favourable environment started to emerge in India to transform education as a marketable commodity and it is for profit only so as to enable private sector to enter into this sector. This process has been accelerated with the entry of globalisation on the name of New Economic Policy in 1990-1991.
The services of Education and Health have been defined as public goods as they are the basis for the achievement of human development as well as social progress and social justice. Therefore, it is the constitutional responsibility of the government to ensure equal accessibility of education to all. Unfortunately, the globalisation initiated the process of transforming education from public good to marketable commodity.
The services of education and health have been privatized first is really a great tragedy.
Indian Higher Education System is largest in the world approximately 30 million students pursue their higher education. It is interesting to note that the number of students in this sector is more than the population of Australia and other 152 sovereign countries. As this sector is in the public sphere till recently, many students from oppressed classes and castes could get the opportunity to enter into higher education system as first generation. This is the result of the process of democratization of higher education system which ensures accessibility to all.
Contrarily, this process has not been allowed to continue and dismantled the ideal goal of “equal opportunities”through privatization. Therefore, 75% of expansion in the higher education system took place in the private sector for the past two decades. With the growth of private institutions, the diversity in our education system has been eradicated. No place can be seen for the courses related to humanities, social sciences and pure sciences. No space for critical thinking, social concerns, human and humane values. The entire growth in the private sector is basically confined to professional course especially medicine and engineering.
The enrolment ratio in higher education system has been increased from 49 lakhs to 323 lakhs during 1999 and 2013-14. Out of which, 65 per cent growth can be seen in the private sector only. Similarly, during the same period, number of universities have been increased from 184 to 723 and in which as high as75 per cent is in private sector.
The issue related to who are coming forward to make investment in higher education definitely determines its state and fate. A wide range of complex array of organisations and individuals from corporate companies, religious organisations to politicians, hoteliers, realtors and liquor barons. Moreover, the distribution of private institutions is uneven and concentrated mainly in urban centres and their fee structure will not give any scope for the poor to enter into higher education system.
International Pressures to Privatise Education
The strong arguments were promoted during 1990’s that economic reforms are the only means available to developing countries to come out from economic crisis - There is No Alternative (TINA). In this context, the World Bank could pressurize developing countries including India to withdraw from the provisions of social services especially education and health and they are to be privatised. The long run vision of World Bank did not allows it to satisfy with the pressures on India to adopt economic reforms. The arguments related to, “privatization is necessary, inevitable and useful too” have been popularized strongly with the creation of a powerful theoretical basis which is favourable to ‘Neo- Liberalism’. From this perspective, the World Bank has released a report entitled “Higher Education: Lessons of Experience” in 1994.
The report, on the one hand appreciates the efforts of developing countries in taking the responsibility of providing education to all by assuming ‘Education as a Merit Good’. The report further states that the progress achieved by these countries so far will be the result of those efforts only. At the same time, the report argues that the governments of developing countries must withdraw from this responsibility is really a contradiction.
The report divides the education system into three parts – Primary, Secondary and Higher Education and the first two parts are defined as merit goods and therefore, the government can continue its responsibility of providing them. As far as Higher Education is concerned, the report states, that it is a ‘non-merit good’ and individuals should purchase it on the basis of their ability to pay. Thus, the report strongly recommends the withdrawal of government from the provision of Higher Education. In addition, it states that only the rich are entering into the Higher Education System and appropriating the benefits of financial allocations and subsidies of government. This naturally results in the widening of inequality. Therefore, equality can be achieved only through the privatization of this system. In fact, the privatization of Higher Education System which deny its accessibility to oppressed classes is projected as a means to achieve equality is a serious contradiction.
The school education is allowed to remain as a public good with the intention of ensuring unlimited supply of unskilled and semi-skilled cheap labour to the corporate sector. Now, the question is what will be the effect of privatization of Higher Education?
The privatization has gradually been transforming into corporatisation. Indian Higher Education System is being articulated according to the requirements of corporate sector. At present, the goals of higher learning are confined to learning skills and search for employment in Multi-National Corporations and in foreign countries at the cost of all important dimensions of education. Quest for knowledge is substituted by acquiring/ learning skills for MNCs. This resulted in the disappearance of critical thinking. In this process, the students lost self-esteem, self-reliance, the higher sense of liberty and freedom. They are skilled but blind and brainless.
They serve global capitalism but do not have an idea about capitalist exploitation, oppression and injustice. Thus, the result of corporatization of higher education is the creation of man power characterized by self-centered approach and slavish attitude. They will not question the ruling and dominant class, exploitation, oppression and violence. This is the ultimate goal of World Bank to create a pro-corporate intellectual world for the sustenance of corporate domination and imperialist exploitation in the long run without any questioning and opposition. Further, international pressures will not confine to the policies of World Bank only to strengthen these structures. In addition, it utilises the support of the Agreements of World Trade Organisation to make the pressures stronger so as to intensity their trend.
Therefore, during the period of release of World Bank’s report, the World Trade Organisation started to encroach social service sectors such as education, health and environment under General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). This came into force on January 1, 1995 with a set of binding rules and disciplines to promote liberalization in services. The agreement would force developing countries like India to make all their public services open to foreign competition and to deregulate services and force them to undertake commitments which cannot be reversed in future.This process will result in the ‘corporate takeover’ of social services by foreign multinationals and force privatization of services.
However, the secretariat of WTO states that sovereign countries will have liberty to accept GATS agreement and further, the sovereign countries will have power to take decision as to how many and what services are to be brought under the scope of GATS. In reality, no developing country can exercise any power to reject GATS proposal. It is ‘compulsory’ to accept under ‘voluntary’ conditions for developing countries. Therefore, India signed on the GATS agreement as early as in 1995. With this, all the service sector markets including the markets of Social Services especially Education and Health have been made accessible to Developed Countries and Dominant Countries. This naturally leads to the deterioration in the Higher Education in India from the State of public good to market commodity. Consequently, the domination of corporate investments on this sector will be established and strengthened.
The Classical Laissez-faire system will not allow government intervention in economic activities. But, ‘Neo Liberalism” popularizes the argument that the organisation of public sector itself is weak and private is efficient. Therefore, it is the duty of the government to take measures to encourage private sector. Thus, the creation of favourable environment for privatization is the responsibility of government. The role of government has radically been transformed from protecting and supporting the interests of depressed and suppressed to encourage corporate sector which is the root cause of all issues related to social injustice and economic exploitation.
Towards Privatization and Corporatization
In fact, this process has started in India in 1980’s. The social development goal of education has disappeared with the conversion of Ministry of Education into Ministry of Human Resource Development in 1985. What kind of change is necessary in the goal of higher education? Now, the youth should learn the skills and knowledge that are necessary for global market. Further, the youth are expected to acquire slave mentality so as to accept the domination of corporate power, its enormous profits and on the whole imperialist exploitation. It is the responsibility of higher education system to develop youth with these characteristics.
The National Education Policy, 1986 has been formulated with this perspective only. It has stated clearly that Universities are not expected to depend upon government allocations and therefore, it is proposed to curtail their expenditures and take measures to earn finances by introducing self-financing courses. This trend has taken a clear form after the entry of globalisation process in 1990. Indian higher education sector transformed into a large market for foreign investments after the implemen-tation of GATS. It is converted into a commodity for the profit maximization. Simultaneously, a basis emerged for the deterioration of public educational institutions. With the formulation of Private Universities Act, 1995,‘Privatisation of Education’ has been legalized. Consequently, the authority and domination of corporate powers on all the resources including human resources has been started to emerge strongly.
The government allocations and subsidies to higher education system has started to decline in 1997 and decided to reduce it from 90 per cent to 25 per cent within five years. The MukheshAmbani – Kumara Mangalam Birla Committee has been constituted by the Prime Minister Council on Trade and Industry in 2000. This has submitted its report entitled “Report on Policy framework for Reforms in Education”. The committee is expected to give proposals and recommendations to accelerate privatization of higher education. The report extended its strong support to the arguments of government to privatise higher education.
Therefore, the recommendations have came into effect immediately without any delay. The report strongly recommended that
i. the higher education sector should be left to corporate investments
ii. this sector has to be articulated as a profitable business activity
iii. removal of entire subsidy system
iv. implementation of user-pay principle
v. provision of loan facility to the students whose economic position is low to bear the educational costs
All these changes are necessary to ensure profits to the investors and this will attract them to make investment in this sector. Immediately, the University Grants Commission took initiative to introduce reforms to transform the higher education system into an industry and develop corporate values. In order to accelerate this process, the World Bank released a report entitled “Constructing Knowledge Societies: New Challenges for Tertiary Education” in 2002. It is astonishing to note that the report accepts that the higher education is a public good but it will be supplied effectively and efficiently by the private sector. Therefore, the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) will be a solution. Further, it states the goal of higher education is to create “Knowledge Societies”.
What should be the nature of that “Knowledge”? The higher education should impart the knowledge which will be useful to the corporate sector as well as to make it stronger. This will result in the destruction of the goals of higher education to improve culture and to achieve social justice “Progress in the human relation is culture”. Therefore, Knowledge should be associated with culture to construct of value-based society.
This will create a kind of’ ‘Key-Dolls’ with self-centred, slavish mentality which do not possess the great characteristics like self-confidence, self-esteem, self-reliance, fight against injustice. These Key- Dolls will not question the increasing exploitation, oppression, violence, inequalities and injustice and have been declined to the level of instruments which work for the benefit of corporates.
In order to explain the need and relevance of these recommendations to India, our government constituted the ‘National Knowledge Commission’ in 2007-08. This committee has given recommendations as per the expectations of the government. It is inevitable to articulate India as ‘Knowledge Society’ but government did not possess required financial recourses, skills and intellectual wealth to achieve this goal.
Therefore, only option available is to invite foreign universities and foreign corporate investment, so as to enable our students to get ‘Knowledge’ is the strong recommendation of the committee. In order to implement these recommendations effectively, a committee is constituted by the government under the chairman-ship of Yashpal in 2009. This strongly recommended the establishment of private universities is necessary to improve higher education sector and therefore, they have to be encouraged.
Thus, at the policy level, a strong base has been created as per the pressures of World Bank, to create a favourable environment for the privatization and corporatization of Indian higher education system to achieve “equality” and “efficiency”.
The Measures to Privatise Higher Education
The proposals related to higher education in the Draft of 12th Five Year Plan have been placed before National Development Council on 27th December, 2012. It has recommended for the reexamination of existing laws to allow entry of for-profit higher educational institutions in select areas under necessary regulatory arrangements. It is also proposed to tax for-profit institutions and channeling revenue from this into large scale scholarship programme. It is also proposed to allow private institutions to raise funds through public offerings of bonds and shares, to allow new institutions to be established under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956. Further, it is recommended to provide option for existing trusts and societies to covert the legal status of their institutions to institutions under Section 25 of Companies Act, 1956.
Thus, the domination of private corporate forces in Indian higher education sector has increased. Further, continuous rise can be seen in the ‘Public-Private Partnership’ for the benefit of private sector in order to accelerate this trend, the Planning Commission has constituted Narayana Murthy Committee (NMC) for necessary directions.
What are the recommendations of NMC?
The Planning Commission has released the report of Narayana Murthy Committee, entitled “Corporate sector participation in Higher Education” on 8th May, 2012. The Committee, basically, focused on three core aspects.
i. creation of environment to attract private corporate investments
ii. corporate support for research as well as faculty development
iii. corporate investment for existing institutions and creation of new institutions and clusters of knowledge
The NMC report clearly explains the deficiencies of public educational institutions and its inefficiencies. However, the report will not make any attempt to identify the root cause of the issue but states that inefficiency is the characteristic feature of government institutions. Therefore, there is no alternative, except privatization to make the system efficient. The public educational institutions have been suffering from faculty shortage, lack of physical infrastructure, poor academic standards, weak employability, and funding gaps. The committee argues that the entry of corporate investments in this sector alone will solve all these challenges.
This issue has clearly been discussed by the Committee. First task is to take measures for up gradation of 75 top universities and higher education institutions. This requires investment in the range of Rs 175-200 crores per institution. The establishment of 20 World class new Universities with the investment of Rs 500 crores per institution.
The creation of 20 new National Knowledge Clusters through PPP model in identified cities and educational hubs of the country and the required finances should be provided by Central, State governments and Corporate sector.
The NMC recommends that Central and State governments should allot land free of charge for 999 years for setting up new institutions to attract corporate investments to this sector. It is necessary to encourage the establishment of knowledge clusters and research centres to impart knowledge as per the requirements of Multi National Corporations. This requires Rs 40,000 cr investment during 2012-17. The Central and State governments should extend their complete support to corporate investments and should give fiscal incentives and concessions as many as possible.
With this, the debate and discussion related to “Higher Education as a public good” came to an end. The international and national pressures in terms of theory and policies have created an environment which will not allow any disagreement about the deteriorating trend. Now, all are compelled to accept that ‘Higher Education is marketable commodity and the main aim of investments in this sector is profit motive. Further, this sector can be improved only with corporate investments. Thus, entry of corporate forces is a pre- requisite and necessary condition. The measures that should be taken by the governments to attract corporate investments in this sector assumes significance. For this, government should provide land, give tax concessions and various kinds of incentives. For this, the entire structure of State from Central to State governments should extend strong support and measures should be taken at least to ensure 25-30 per cent profit rate for investments in this sector.
What are the effects of this process?
The entire higher education system will divert its energies and efforts to create youth with necessary skills and knowledge that ensure corporate domination and corporate profits. They do not have any idea or concern about social justice. No question of social consciousness. The created self-centred youth will only know about how to run for jobs with high income package and how to retain them so as to become a strong part in the vicious circle of consumerism. They failed to think about society, social values. No space for discussion about the causes for the deterioration in human values and collectivity. This kind of transformation of youth is necessary for the sustenance and continuation of imperialist exploitation.
At the international level the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation, at the national level, the governments of developing countries including the Government of India have been formulating policies and creating strong structures to implement them effectively to make the vicious circle of crisis strong and hard to break. They are moving too fast towards decay and destruction.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
As part of implementation of the recommendations of Narayana Murthy Committee, the Parliament has accepted Company Bill, 2012 in December 2012. The CSR is mandatory. The new bill mandates that every company having net worth of Rs. 500 cr are more, or a net profit of Rs 5 cr or more, or turnover of Rs 1000 crores are more in any financial years to constitute a CSR Committee and has to spend at least 2 per cent of the average net profits in every financial year.
The new bill intends to develop the culture of philanthropy in private sector. The institutions which exploit the people are given responsibility to protect them. The existence of corporate forces itself is to exploit the resources, land, labour with the support of government. Alas, they have been given social responsibility?. They enter into higher education system not to serve the society but to earn profits. The government made radical changes in the policies and programmes to ensure profits so as to attract corporate investments.
Where is the question of social responsibility?. This is nothing but deceiving people with wrong perception. What is the State and Status of Universities as well as higher education institutions?
Education will be accessible to all without any discrimination only in the Public Universities. They provide space for critical thinking and evaluation. The democratic values and diversity will be preserved only through government institutions. They are the plat forms for the scientific discussions as to how to solve social issues. These Students will be on the fore front of any movement for social transfor-mation.
The Public Universities will give a progressive direction to the motion of society. It is appropriate to mention one incident occurred in 2015 in Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntur of Andhra Pradesh. Rishitheshwari, who was the student of Architect Engineering died in suspicious circumstances. The Student Associations like PDSO, the women organisations like SthreeVimukthiSanghatana, Lawyers associations and Rights associations have strongly protested the incident and have constituted ‘Fact Finding Committees. They could reveal the facts behind the death to the society.
The entry of all the responsible associations is possible to know the facts and to protest the untoward incidents only in public institutions. The implementation of inhuman discipline, harassment, increasing pressure on the students on the name of competition is creating a suffocating atmosphere for students in the corporate colleges which is resulting in the suicides of students. Is there any scope for any organisation to enter into these institutions to know the facts? Prevalence of totally undemocratic practices in these institutions. No protest, no questioning, only acceptance. This is needed for the sustenance of imperialism.
The main aim behind the establishment of University Grants Commission (UGC) is to take measures to protect the autonomy and diversity of Universities on the lines recommended by the first University Education Commission, 1948. Unfortunately, the difference between UGC and Ministry of Human Resource Development has gradually been declining. Instead of protecting the autonomy of Universities, the UGC has been moulded as an instrument in the hands of government to curb the autonomy and diversity of higher education institutions by introducing ‘Choice Based Credit System, Common Curriculum and Syllabi.
Different Universities will specialize in different areas of research, what will happen to all this intellectual specialisation? Further, at the under graduation level, offered courses have been divided into Core, Common and Open. In this, only core courses require regular and permanent teaching staff and Part-time teaching staff will be enough for remaining course. This naturally results in the informalisation of teaching jobs in universities.
It is a bitter fact to note that not only in two Telugu States but also in entire India, no recruitment of teaching staff in the Universities for more than a decade. Financial allocations decreased. The self-financing courses, Distance education courses have become real sources of finances to run the universities. The importance of teachers declining in Telugu States, in all the State Universities, the posts of Vice-Chancellors is vacant for the past two years. In one of the State University of Telangana, the University college Hostels have been privatised three years ago despite serious protests from students and faculty. The government has been taking measures ‘sincerely’ to make the Universities worthless entities as per the pressures of corporate forces. Unfortunately, some of the teachers and students are becoming instruments for the change towards deterioration. Nobody is there to question or protest even if measures are taken to close these institutions.
Nobody can reject the trend of worsening standards and values of research. Even research has been transformed into a market commodity. This is not an isolated and individual issue but it is a part and parcel of the process of converting these institutions futile, hopeless and unnecessary. Therefore, no individual solutions but to attack entire structures of deterioration.
Even Central Universities who are known to be custodians of intellectual wealth became integral part of this worsening trend. The incidents of Hyderabad Central University, JawaharLal Nehru University, Delhi and Jadavapur University will prove it. The critical thinking and evaluation have been termed as ‘outdated theories’. Discussing about the realization of constitutional right and directive principle of State policy became a serious crime and ‘Anti-National’. The education is strictly defined as “learning skills” only. The students and youth are not expected to think and talk about social justice as it will not come under their purview. Simply, they should be obedient to the corporate forces.
Now, the higher education is strongly linked to money because it is converted into marketable commodity. This will be useful to global market only. As it is linked to employability, the courses that are necessary for the society and collective spirit such as Humanities, Social Sciences, and Pure Sciences are disappearing rapidly. Similarly, quest for knowledge and wisdom has seriously been replaced by simply acquiring skills.
The higher education will be accessible to affluent sections only due to privatization and corporatization. Poor can enter only into public universities and institutions. The process of dismantling public higher education system will result in the permanent denial of higher education to poor and oppressed.
To strengthen the problem of deterioration, the Draft National Education Policy, 2015 gave importance to raise efficiency, accountability and moulding students according the needs of global market. The constitutional goals of equality, social justice, and guarantee for fundamental rights will not find any place in this policy is really a tragedy.
In this context, it is appropriate to remember the statement of Albert Einstein in 1954 that “it is not enough to teach a person a speciality. Through it, the person may become a kind of useful machine but not a harmoniously developed personality. It is essential that the student acquire an understanding of and lively feeling for values. They must acquire a vivid sense of beautiful and of the morally good. Otherwise, the person with specialized skills/Knowledge, more closely resembles a well-trained dog rather than a harmoniously developed person”.This kind of environment will be created only when higher education is again transformed into public good. The youth in the higher education should be conscious of human values, social development and social justice. Moreover, it should be accessible to all without any discrimination. The question is, will it be possible to purify education system independently?. It is rooted in the phenomenon of power of corporate forces which dictate the globe. Therefore, its solution lies in the end of imperialist exploitation which result in the creation of humane structure of political economy free from all kinds of discrimination, exploitation, oppression and violence. This progressive environment enables to attain progress in the education system too. Hope that socially conscious forces will unite and move towards to realize this goal. *********************************************************************************************

Sunday, May 29, 2016


(This article published in 'CLASS STRUGGLE',the magazine of CPI(ML)
Earlier, the British Colonialists had imposed their oppressive rule and retained it by means of force and the policy of division , deceiption against the masses of Indian people. It was quite natural and just for the masses of colonised people to view the revolt against it and for a free and democratic India as a matter of honour.
The Colonial rulers enacted all draconian laws and freely used all sorts of ‘legal’ and illegal methods to suppress the people and perpetuate their rule. They branded all ideas and activities opposed to the colonial rule as illegal, anti-State, seditious and anti-national and what not. The army, police, courts, jails and, for that matter, every wing of the repressive and executive machinery was at their beck and call. The victims of these methods included not only those who believed in the methods of violence, armed revolution and organised struggle, but also those who believed in the non-violent and passive methods. Many revolutionaries, including Bhagat Singh and his collegues, were hanged with or even without a farce of trail. The writers, singers and other artists who used their creative talents in the interest of freedom struggle too could not escape the ire of the Colonial rulers.
By its very nature, the British Colonial rule was totally illegal, illegitimate, oppressive and anti-people. But it paraded itself as legitimate and the custodian of the interests of India and Indian people. The Colonial rulers branded and sought to punish the masses of Indian people who opposed their rule as anti-State and anti-national. But the Indian people refused to be cowed down by it. They took such brandings as a mark of great honour.
The Indian ruling classes had stepped into the shoes of British colonialists in 1947. They adopted a Constiution basing on the 1935 British India Act. They inherited all repressive laws and the entire administrative, judicial and repressive systems and methods including those that empower the government to brand an act or view as anti-State, anti-national and illegal. The Indian Constitution has provisions that empower to imprison persons under the DIR, PD Act and other special laws, bring some parts or the entire
Country under the dark rule of internal or external Emergency, suspend the Fundamental Rights, declare vast areas as Disturbed Areas, where virtually an Army or police rule is put into vogue. There are laws that allow the police to impose bans, restrictions and Sec.144 on the movements and actions of the organisations and individuals as part of unleashing the attacks on the genuine democratic activities and struggles of the people. The rulers had added many new laws like TADA and POTA and other State laws. The experience of our people show that these laws always are used against the workers, peasants, adivasis, dalits, women, oppressed nationalities, religious and ethnic minorities whenever they came into the struggles for their justand democratic rights.
When the Colonialists were at the helm of power, the masses of Indian people had no difficulty in questioning their political and moral authority to brand the freedom fighters as anti-State or anti-national and to declare Colonial rule as illegal, illegitimate and anti-people. But after 1947, they are facing some difficulty in challenging the new rulers because they are pursuing the policies of mortgaging the interests of our Country and people to the imperialists under the mask of democratic and independent rule.
Some, who are under the sway of the indian ruling class propaganda about the policy of development, are finding it difficult to challenge the ruling classes as they are unable to go deep into the real nature of the brand of ruling class development policy. But everyone who is genuinely concerned about the true sense of the term must first ponder over what the development actually means. Does the development policy of Indian ruling classes is aimed at and helps our Country to advance independently and on its own legs basing on the natural and human resources available in our Country ? Does it help to raise the economic and cultural level of our people to higher level with assured means of life and livelihood, or are these policies helping a handful of foreign and native big exploiters to recklessly loot the Country’s natural and human resources, earn super profits, destroy our resources, push our Country into worst economic and political dependence and the overwhelming masses of our people into inextri -cable depths of hunger, poverty, joblessnes and insecurity ?
How a Country maintains its relations and resolves the problems with neighbouring Countries is an important aspect of its foreign policy. There occured one war between India and China in 1962 and two wars between India and Pakistan in 1965 and 1971. These wars had inflicted serious damages and wounds to both Countries. There continued tensions, no war and no peace situation between India and Pakistan for a long time. Endless piling up of new and modern weapons by both in the name of war preparedness, gaining upper hand, deploying armed forces and counter intelligence networks along the borders and maintaining hostilities and mutually suspicious relations among the people of both Countries had imposed
unbearable economic burdens on the people. Why this situation is continuing ? Who are mainly benefitting from the conflict between India and Pakistan ? Is it not true that the same imperialist powers are selling weapons to both sides, earning super profits and thus had developed a vested interest in the conflict between India and Pakistan ? Why the rulers of both Countries are allowing the imperialist powers to poke their dirty noses into the problems between India and Pakistan and why they are unable to resolve the problems among themselves independently and in a peaceful manner ? What conditions and weaknesses are standing in their way ? All these questions are worrying the people and all those who are genuinely concerned about the interests of people and yearn for peaceful and fraternal relations between the two Countries. How long the people of both Countries who are the real and worst victims of wrong policies of the ruling classes of both Countries keep quite without seeking proper answers for these questions ?
Our people want the relations with other Countries must be based on the principles of equality, fraternity, mutual help and peace. They neither want India to behave like a big brother towards neighbouring Countries, nor maintain a subservient relationship with an imperialist or big power. They consider it as their responsibility and right to criticise and rectify any other kind of behaviour on the part of Indian rulers.
But the Indian ruling classes, parties and the regimes representing them are not prepared to respect this right of our people. They think that the questions like ‘national interest, patriotism, national integrity, war and peace and relations with other Countries ‘—the matters concerning the foreign policy - are totally and exclusively matters of their own concern and domain. They think that the people cannot sit in judgement of correctness or otherwise of the policies of rulers and their only job is to extend an unqualified support to the policies and actions of the rulers. They also think that any criticism that crosses the framework of extending basic support to the rulers amounts to going against the national interest and taking a soft or lenient attitude towards the enemy.
In the context of 1962 and 1965 wars, the Communist leaders, cadres and democrats were put behind bars under the DIR or PDA. There were no specific charges against them. The rulers only acted on the basis of intelligence reports which alleged that such and such parties or such and such persons are suspected to be pro-China or anti-war and their remaining free may pose a threat to national security and peace.
It has become quite normal for the rulers as well as the media controlled by them to blow up the idea of nationalism and patriotism into chauvinism before and during war times and subjecting the organisations and individuals, who were found or suspected not falling in their line, to various types of pressures, suspicions and threats. More particularly, the questioning the policies and actions of the ruling classes at the time of wars is viewed as a big crime and an anti-national act. Chauvinism, emotions and hate are sought to be incited against them in a deliberate attempt to silence them and use the repressive course against them. The religious minorities are pushed into most humiliating and help-less conditions in situations like this.
In the year 1970-71, Yahya Khan led Pakistan Govt. had unleashed a reign of terror against the people in the eastern part of Pakistan because it found the emergence of an elected govt. there utterly intolerable.
Quite justifiably, the people rose in resistance against it. It was also just for the democratic forces of any Country to extend their political and moral support and solidarity to the democratic struggle of east Pakistan people. However, the Indian ruling classes had gone further. They created the ground for a civil war by creating a liberation army, providing the wherewithel and training to fight the Pakistan Army. At one stage, the Indian Army had directly stepped into the scene, entered into war with Pakistan and played a decisive role in defeating Pakistan and in the creation of Bangla Desh.
India’s involvement in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka and Nepal had gone much beyond the nature of maintaining normal relations with other Countries and attracted criticism in the concerned Countries as well as the world as an act of intervention and show of a big brotherly attitude.
Here the question is : Is it correct for the rulers of a Country to interfere in the internal affairs of anothet Country ? Can a Country take the side of a struggle that may come up in a part of another Country and go to the extent of guiding it in military action for a division of that Country ? For some, any attempt by an Indian citizen to criticise the big brotherly, interventionist or expansionist tendencies and actions of the
Indian ruling classes is ‘un-Indian’, ‘un-national’ and ‘unpatriotic’. If this is to be accepted as a standard difinition of patriotism, the right to independence, sovereignity and territorial integrity of small and weak Countries would be under constant and perenial danger. The ideas and arguments of this kind only make it clear to what depths of vulgarity the Indian ruling classes have degenerated the idea and practice of nationalism and patriotism.
There was a time when the Indian ruling classes were uttering the words like ‘anti-colonialism’, ‘anti- imperialism’ and ‘independent ‘ foreign policy. But they reduced these claims into empty words and moved fast on the road of subservience to imperialism. When a situation of two super powers –US and SU- had emerged in the world, they were showing a leaning towards one or other super power, while, at the same time, being subservient to imperialism as a whole. In the subsequent period, they went on tuning up their foreign policy to suit the US strategy for world hegemony. India becoming a part of US led US, Japan and Australia alliance came as a significant development in this process. The change of regime from UPA to BJP led NDA has further accelerated this process. India’s collaboration with US in the job of protecting the right of free navigation in the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific region and its opposition to China, which is considered as a potential road bloc in the way of US attempts to establish its domination over the seas and the region, are only a part of the moves to put the aims of this alliance into practice. The Indian rulers are tuning up and co-ordinating their economic, political, defence, trade and intelligence policies and actions to meet these needs. This policy is wrought with dangerous and far reaching consequences for India. By this policy, the Indian rulers had only placed themselves in such a shameless position where they must support or remain silent towards the acts of intervention, threat, invasion and armed occupation indulged in by the US in various parts of the world.
This trend of development in the foreign policy of Indian ruling classes is a crude negation of anti- colonial, anti-imperialist, anti- Fascist and peace ethos and historic traditions of protracted and heroic battles waged by our people to break the shackles of imperialism and set our Country on the road of independence, peace and progress. Our people’s sympathy, solidarity and bondage always remain with the oppressed nations and people of the world who are still weighed down by the imperialist plunder and oppression or who are facing the threats, bullying and invasions by the imperialist powers in general and US in particular. Our people and all the freedom and peace loving forces must declare from the top of their voice : We would not allow this subservience to imperialism. India’s rightful place is among the people and Countries who are fighting against the imperialist policies of plunder, oppression, domination and war in the world. We would fight for it.
A handful of big imperialist powers, including US and Russia are exercising a monopoly over the weapons in the present world. They possess most modern and destructive weapons capable of destroying the entire world. Yet they are prohibiting other Countries from producing, possessing and using certain types of weapons even for their own defence. They are subjecting the supposed violators of their dictats by varous forms of punishments like economic sanctions as the US and other imperialist powers had done in the case of Iran and North Korea. They are waging the wars of invasion and armed occupation like in the case of Iraq. On one side, they are funding, arming and using countless terrorist groups and, on the other side, are resorting to attacks, invasions and armed occupations in the name of so called war against terrorism.
In essence, the big imperialist powers here are only making it clear to the world that they would not allow anyone to challenge their monopoly over the weapons. The Indian ruling classes are silent spectators or supporters of all these acts of high handedness on the part of big powers. It is a matter of shame for our people and immencely harmful to the interests of independence, peace and security of all small and weak Countries in the world.
There is every possibility for the US imperialists, who have roped India into their strategic alliance, using their ever growing and strong hold on the Indian economy, resources, politics, military, intelligence and foreign policy affairs in the service of their drive for hegemonism. There is every possibility for the masses of Indian people being turned into a cannon fodder without their knowledge, consent and concern in their contentions for world hegemony.
Several areas in India have witnessed many small or big terrorist attacks at different times. Mumbai serial blasts, the attack on Mumbai Taj Mahal hotel and the attempt to attack on the Parliament are only a few instances of them. The questions like ,who are the real engineers of these terrorist attacks ? Who are the executioners ? What are their aims ? , no doubt, need proper answers. But we can say that these actions deserve all out condemnation. At the same time, we must also say that the actions resorted to by the Indian rulers in the name of preventing, countering the terrorist attacks had only intensified the repression on the people and spread an atmosphere of fear among the people instead of putting an end to the acts of terrorism.
We are also witnessing a section of people belonging to one religion being subjected to various forms of humiliation and sufferings as suspected or alleged terrorists or their supportes. There are instances where the innocent persons suspected or alleged as terrorists or their supporters ended their lives in fake encounters, languished in jails for years during never ending trails, faced convictions because they could not arrange proper legal defence or some were acquitted only after losin a better part of their life and experienced economic ruinations. There are instances where the appeals by the innocent accused persons before the authorities, police and courts that they were wrongly and unjustifiably implicated in the cases were paid a deaf ear. There are also instances where the appeals by the families of the convicted persons, democratic and human rights organisations to the President of India and authorities for Amnesty in death sentences were bluntly rejected.
It is the consistent allegation or propaganda on the part of Indian rulers that several terrorist attacks in kashmir and other parts of India are engineered or propped up by Pakistan. Pakistan government too, ocasionally, comes up with allegations against the Indian government that its intelligence agencies are engaged in conspiracies and attempts to organise revolt inside Pakistan and it has enough evidence in its possession. These allegations and counter allegations do not go to the point of striving to end the problem.
The relations between the rulers of both Countries, at times, appear to be in a worst state of tensions, mutual distrust and on the brink of war. But, suddenly and drametically, they find themselves chanting about the need of confidence building, fraternal relations and peaceful resolution of problems through dialogue. I n Kashmir (as well as North –Eastern States) the Indian Army rules several parts by special powers under the AFSPA. Thousands of youth, branded or identified as terrorists had died in the hands of security forces. There are instances where the people moved in thousands in protest actions asserting that the arrested or killed persons are not terrorists and demanding the release of arrested persons or handing over of the dead bodies. A protest movement of parents and human rights organisations is still going on in Kashmir to know the fate of more than 7000 ‘disappeared’ persons and for the identification of persons buried in 8000 unmarked graves. The role of Indian govt. in the creation of Bhindranwale in Punjab and the phenomenon of terr-orist groups at one time in Sri Lanka is known to all.
So no one need be carried away by the claims and propaganda of Indian ruling classes. In reality, they are using ‘terrorism’ as a double edged weapon. They create and use it as and where it serves their interests and purposes. They are using the talk abou the fight against terrorism as a smokescreen to wage and intensify unbridled attacks on the rights and genuine struggles of the people and as a tool to divert the people from their real issues. They are also using it to divert the attention of people from the crises and failures of the ruling classes which are an inescapable consequence of their own anti-people policies. It has become a habit for the Indian ruling classes to deny the right of our people to question their definitions, conclusions and actions on ‘terrorism’ and brand such questioning as pro-terroris and a punishable act.
This cannot be accepted. The Indian ruling classes have no right to play with the lives of our people. BJP and its Sangh Parivar are doing everything to dismantle the fact that India is a Country of different nationalities, tribes, ethnic groups with their own languages, cultures, religious beliefs, life styles and food habits and impose their own code of dress, food habits, culture and life styles as dictated by their concept of Hindutva. They are warning those who are refusing or considered to be opposed to fall in their line. We have seen how the Hindu communal forces have attacked and murdered a good number of rationalist, democratic, progressive intellectuals and social activistsin the last two years. Brutal killing of Dabolkar, Pansare in Maharashtra, Kulburgi in Karnataka and Rohit Vemula’s forced suicide are only a part of them.
Many others were subjected to all types of insults, humiliations, threats, mental tortures and coersions by the Sangh Parivar forces while the BJP govt. looked other side and extended moral support to these acts. We have seen the fascist trend of intolerance towards differing views and the attempts to silence them by violent means. All this was done in a planned way. This nasty drama was scripted, directed by the Head quarters of Sangh Parivar. The Hindu communal forces and the govt. leaders are playing their roles in perfect coordination. In this, some would not oper their mouths, many would blow up their longues with no rule or rythm; some would indulge in threats and violent attacks; some preach about dharma shastras, moral princples, values, ptriotism and nationalism; some talk about Constitution, law and civilised behaviour.
But, unfortunately for the Sangh Parivar and most welcome for the people the these acts had encountered and are encountering powerful opposition and protest, wider in scale, from the intellectuals, democrats,rationalists, progressive and secular forces and people.
The Indian ruling classes have reduced the words nationalism and patriotism into an empty shell devoid of their content to suit their needs.
The Indian ruling classes describe the hailing the Country as great, supporting their chauvinist, expansionist ambitions and activities towards neighbouring Countries, subservient policies and relations towards the imperialist powers, upholding the wars waged by the ruling classes and dieing for the cause of ruling classes as patriotism and nationalism.
The Indian ruling classes present India as a single nation and the acts of denial, suppression of the rights and struggles of nationalities as the acts aimed at protecting the national interests, the unity and integrity of our Country.
All those who are really concerned about the interests of our Country and people must realise that in modern times imperialism is the greatest road block on the road of a free and all round development of Countries like India. Imperialism is a fountain head of all evils, reactionism and decadence.Therefore, any idea or talk of nationalism and national interests which refuses to or fails to see this reality is empty and deceptive. The interests of our Country and people can be protected and advanced only by a firm, consistent and thorough going struggle by our people to remove this imperialist road block in India as well as at the world level.
We must respect the fact that India is a Country of different nationalities with their own diverse and specific features and their own historical courses of development. A real and lasting unity among the people of various nationalities can be forged, cemented and sustained only in the course of common struggle of various nationalities against imperialism and for democracy and by ensuring proper conditions and democratic atmosphere for the exercise of their national and democratic rights and not by denying and suppressing them; not by discriminating one nationality from other; not by creating a condition of inequality between them and not by setting one nationality against the other which remains a disastrous policy of Indian ruling classes.
All attempts to make India a Hindu Rashtra are disastrous and divisive. This idea must be fought in every sphere- ideological, political, cultural, social and practical – thoroughly and to the end. Scientific, rational, progressive, democratic and secular ideas, forces and achievements of our Country in the field of philosophy, science, literature, history, art, culture, technology and other fields are most precious wealth inherited by our people from our past generations. This wealth must be proudly owned , protected like our eye balls from the attacks of reactionary, retrogressive and obscurantist forces which are determined to turn back the wheel of history and take our achievements. We must take our achievements to new heights.
Let the people take the future of our Country into their own hands.


Friday, May 13, 2016


{Published in 'CLASS STRUGGLE', Magazine of CPI(ML)}

For the last four or five years, the students and youth are increasingly coming to the forefront of many struggles. They are protesting against the cutbacks in education budgets, gender discrimination, sexual harassment, caste oppression, anti-worker policies, land acquisition, corruption etc. One university after another has been in the news as battle grounds. With the BJP coming to power at the centre and with its communal drive, the students started to protest against communal violence, attempts to control food habits, moral policing of youth by forcing dress code etc.

At Acharya Nagarjuna university, AP, the death of a woman student as a result of harassment unleashed widespread student protest that exposed the decadent culture being propagated by the ruling classes among the students and youth. Jadhavpur university students protested against sexual harassment and bureaucracy of the management. The Delhi
university teachers and students agitated against the changes in curricula. Delhi students organized support to the strike by Maruti workers. Allahabad university students union’s first woman president, Richa Singh, is organizing struggles against gender discrimination in the campus.. The students of IIT, Madras agitated against the attempts by the management to curb the activities of Ambedkar Study Circle being conducted by the dalit students. The death of Rohit Vemula and the
arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, President of JNU students union led to widespread protest of students around the country. The suicide of three women students of Naturopathy in Tamil Nadu, resulting from the harassment by the college management for the delay in payment of fees by the government has led to protests from the students and public. These are some of the student’s protests which show that the students are seething with discontentment and anger and are taking up struggles for justice.

These students who were victims and/or leading the protests have come from the poor and middle classes and discriminated sections. The protests they organized represents their democratic aspirations. Not only they are struggling for their rights, but also they are standing in support of the oppressed classes and sections of the people and their democratic
aspirations and demands.

On the other side the ruling classes responded with heavy hand to crush the growing student protests. The campuses are being turned into police camps. And new rules are being imposed to curtail the democratic space and atmosphere available in the campuses. With the
BJP ascending to the power, communal forces are being unleashed to rampage the harmonic life prevailing in the campus. On a flimsy or innocuous complaint made by the student’s wing of BJP that managements of the universities are being forced to take action by the central government. 

The events at to University of Hyderabad and JNU clearly showed that on a flimsy complaint by ABVP, the central government moved swiftly to pressurize the VCs to take action on the students and the communalise the issue to polarize the students on communal and caste lines. When the ABVP alleged irregularities in hostel funds, the central government stopped funds to the Punjab University despite the VC instituting an enquiry committee and submitting all the records. Yet payment of wages to all the staff was stopped. When the screening of the documentary Muzaffarpur baki hai in the campus was violently disrupted by the communal forces, it has not invited any action from the government. This clearly shows that the communal forces are being abetted by the government and they are using fascist methods.

Religious fundamentalism is always regressive. It wants to take back the society to the medieval period and an impediment to the progress of human society. It has its roots in feudalism and landlord class is its mainstay. The big bourgeoisie, true to its comprador and bureaucratic nature, is aligning with the landlord class. It is utilizing the religious fundamentalism to crush the democratic aspirations of the people. The ruling classes and their political representatives, BJP and Congress, are using every method to use religious fundamentalism to divide the people on communal lines. Thus the ideology of landlord class and the ideology of comprador bourgeoisie are getting expressed in the form of communal fascism, sometimes openly and unabashedly and on
other times disguisedly and softly.

The neoliberal capitalist economic policies, as dictated by the imperialist powers, are being assiduously implemented by the Indian ruling classes for nearly three decades. These policies have devastated the livelihoods and lives of the all sections of people. Nearly three lakh peasants have committed suicides. Every year millions of rural poor are being condemned to the wretched life in the slums of cities. Youth are being haunted by the monster of unemployment. The pent up anger and discontentment is getting expressed in various forms ranging from protests to militant struggles. The growing awareness and militancy among the students is one of them which the ruling elite considers as a threat to its policy of tailoring the education, particularly higher education, to the exploitative interests of finance capital. Thus they have unleashed the communal forces to rampage the campuses.

It is imperative on the part of the progressive forces to stand by the side of students in their struggle for the realization of their democratic demands and their fight against the communal fascist
forces. The progressive forces has to help the students in forging the unity among them and advance towards establishing communal free and democratic atmosphere in the campus.


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